Vol. 5 Num 922 Sat. December 30, 2006  

In remembrance...
The cultural arena of Bangladesh lost some of its brightest and most talented stars in the year 2006. This is a tribute to the personalities whose demise have left an irreparable void in their respective fields:

Anwar Parvez (1941-2006): Composer of invaluable patriotic songs, Anwar Parvez, who was suffering from cancer, died on June17.

Parvez had contributed timeless songs, such as Ekbar jetey de na amar chhotto shonar gaye, Amaye jodi proshno koro, Ektara tui desher kotha bol rey, She jey keno elo na, Aul Baul Laloner deshey and many more.

His composition, Jai Bangla Banglar jai was the opening and closing song of the Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra during our Liberation War. The inspirational song kept the spirits high at the camps. At the age of 27, Parvez had composed the song for the film Jai Bangla. The song reverberated with the emotional storm that was cloaking the country at that time.

"It was not that the song was composed for any particular party. It was rather composed at a time when people were united under a single banner for a common cause -- independence," said Parvez, in an exclusive interview to The Daily Star, prior to his demise.

"When a composer works with a song, he has to depend on his basic instincts and his 'third eye'. His vision must not only focus on the context of the song, but also on the impact the song would have on the audience. So, when I was asked to compose a tune for the particular film, the first thing I visualised was the half-fed and half-clad people in distress, having lost all hope of livelihood, but still holding dear the hope of independence. And I wanted to create a tune that would re-kindle that hope into an engulfing flame."

Abdul Jabbar and Shahnaz Rahmatullah (Parvez's sister) along with co-artistes lent their voice to the song.

Parvez was also one of the leading names in film music. He had composed songs for several Bangla films such as Abhijan, Madhu Maloti, Shonar Harin, Shokal Shandhya and many more. He had never won any major award but his songs hummed by millions, was his greatest reward.

After his illness was diagnosed, renowned artistes and musicians of the country took initiative to raise funds for his medical treatment.

Dilip Biswas (1946-2006): Award winning film director and producer Dilip Biswas passed away on July 12. He was suffering from cancer.

Biswas worked in different fields of cinema: As playback singer, actor, director and producer. He entered into the film arena as a playback singer in Zahir Raihan's film Behula.

He earned fame as a singer in Anowara, Momer Alo, Dui Bhai, Alomati, Sontan, Chena Achena and more. He emerged as actor in Habur Biye. Later, he stepped into direction as an assistant director through Agun Niye Khela. His first directorial venture, Samadhi was an immense success. Other well known films are Dabi, Bandhu, Asami, Anurodh, Jinjir, Anarkali, Angshidar, Apaman, Ashwikar, Apeksha and Ajante.

Biswas bagged National Awards thrice as best director. He also produced popular films such as Akritagga, Shasurbari Zindabad and others.

Shamsur Rahman (1929-2006): Eminent poet Shamsur Rahman breathed his last in Dhaka on August 17.

Shamsur Rahman started composing poetry at a time when most people, particularly the Bengali Muslims, were not aware of the development of modern poetry. He started on the ground prepared by the poets of the 1930s and developed and added new features to Bangla poetry. He popularised modern Bangla poetry among the general mass by successfully expressing their emotion about the country, its people and their language.

As a poet and a citizen of Dhaka he could not refrain himself from the political development of the then East Pakistan leading ultimately to the emergence of Bangladesh. Although he was never active in politics, he composed a number of political poems, which were particularly devoted to the country's struggle for freedom and independence.

One of his most popular poems in this group is Asader Shirt (Asad's shirt) where the poet gives an emotional description of the death of a young demonstrator, who was brutally killed in police firing at a protest rally against the despotic army rule.

After the independence of Bangladesh, Rahman emerged as the most powerful poet of the country, reflecting the true spirit of independence and the Liberation War. He successfully used the terms and words related to independence.

Swadhinata Tumi (To Independence) is one of his most popular poems, in which the poet tries to reflect the heartfelt urge and describes the true meaning of independence and freedom.

A prolific writer, Rahman authored nearly 100 books, of which more than sixty are collections of poems. He received numerous awards including the Bangla Academy Award in 1969, Ekushey Padak in 1977 and the Swadhinata Award in 1991.

Nitun Kundu (1935-2006): Nitun Kundu, a freedom fighter and the famed sculptor of Shabash Bangladesh on the Rajshahi University campus -- a tribute to the martyrs of the country's Liberation War, passed away in Dhaka on September 15.

A celebrated painter and founder of international standard furniture maker Otobi Limited, Nitun Kundu (original name Nitya Gopal Kundu) will remain alive in the mind of countrymen for his artistic works.

Nitun Kundu worked with artist Quamrul Hasan at the public relations department of the exiled Bangladesh government during the Liberation War in 1971. He designed a good number of posters published by the Information and Publicity Department of the government in exile. Of them, Banglar Hindu, Banglar Bouddha, Banglar Khristan, Banglar Musalman--amra shobai Bangalee and Sada Jagrata Banglar Muktibahini are remarkable.

Kundu added a new dimension to the fine arts movement in the 1960s, showing his skills in both abstract and realistic art.

Apart from Shabash Bangladesh, his other important works include the Saarc Fountain at Karwan Bazar, the fountain in front of the High Court, and the Sampan at Chittagong Airport.

A pioneer in using metal with wood in making furniture, Kundu served the USIS in the pre-Liberation period. His multidimensional artistic sense and work skill has made the Otobi an ever-growing organisation.

Awarded both as an artist and an entrepreneur, Nitun Kundu earned the Ekushey Padak and The Daily Star-DHL best entrepreneur award.

Nitun Kundu also crafted several national trophies, including those of the national film award, President Gold Cup, Notun Kuri Award of Bangladesh Television, Asia Cricket Cup, and the Ekushey Padak.